I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by people who mean a lot to you. I certainly did. So now after that lovely respite it’s time to get back to business, and for many of you that means putting the final touches on your plans for tomorrow’s Small Business Saturday event.  Hopefully you ordered your welcome mat and are ready to roll out the red carpet for your customers

The growing popularity of Small Business Saturday indicates that many people enjoy supporting local small businesses. That’s why you want to make sure that you give everyone who comes into your business on Saturday a reason to return. Here are some ways how to leverage the momentum of Small Business Saturday into loyalty for your brand year round.

Start with service: You may not be able to match the prices of the big chains, but remember customer service is the hallmark of small business. Customer service is what keeps people coming back even when they can get something for less down the street.  By having knowledgeable, attentive employees and offering extras — ordering special parts and products and providing home deliveries — your business stands out.

Show community support:  Customers value business that give back to the community. Support your community by getting involved in local activities — sponsor a high school sports team, donate to a non-profit organization or help organize a local event.  Let the community know you’re behind them. Promote your support in your business, online and in offline advertisements or mailings.

Be active online: Be visible on social networking sites to advertise your latest sales and special promotions as well as ask and answer questions. Post items about your business – talk about a new employee or plans to expand. When you show your personality online, customers know what to expect when they walk through the door.

Build loyalty: Offer discounts and product promotions to customers who sign up for your loyalty program. Send emails and post on your social networking sites to let loyalty program members know about special deals and shopping days.

Be an advocate for small business: Work with other small business owners for referrals or joint marketing opportunities. Post comments on the blogs and social networking sites of your fellow small business owners. And practice what you preach – support as many small business vendors and service providers as you can when it comes to your own business operations.

Have a great Small Business Saturday! As they say in show biz, break a leg or better yet a sales record.

Don’t forget to share with us the craziest spot where you’ve had a business call and your name will be entered for a chance to win a Marque 2™ Bluetooth® headset.  Enter to win: http://soundingboard.plantronics.com/community/small-medium-business